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ZScout5

Advancement Reports

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I have been surprised to hear some posters state that their councils do not require advancement reports to purchase ranks and merit badges. A quick search did not find any councils that did not state that they require the adv report.

These items are restricted and page 16 of the Guide to Advancement 2011 states -" All badges of rank, merit badges, Eagle Palms, and Venturing awards are restricted items. Unit leadership may not purchase these insignia for presentation without having filed an advancement report with the local council."

 

Are the councils/stores that are not requiring the adv reports unaware of the national policy or just not following/enforcing the policy? My council has required the adv reports for ranks, awards, and mbs as well as blue cards for mbs since before I started purchasing awards 5 years ago.

 

I think that you would have a lot of incorrect scoutnet scout records, especially missing items, without having to turn in an adv report. Doesn't this cause headaches when a Life scout checks his scoutnet report in preparation for completing the Eagle application?

 

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Yah, hello ZScout5!

 

I think da notion of restricted items in the age of EBay is a bit of a laugh myself.

 

I think there's also a proper balance between tryin' to be all high and mighty about "restricted" kids' patches and providin' good customer service. Many council scout shops know the people in their units, eh? We do a lot more damage to Scouting by annoying and upsetting our volunteers who are just tryin' to pick up the awards for that night's COH than we do by havin' an occasional unrecorded advancement or stray patch out there on EBay.

 

Besides, as others have pointed out, if a unit wants to they can send all their boys in to buy "replacement" badges and patches and build up a supply. I reckon at least a third of the strong units out there do this, because they take the BSA's notion of "immediate recognition" more seriously than the BSA does.

 

So I reckon this isn't worth gettin' your knickers in a twist over, especially in the age of internet advancement.

 

Beavah

 

 

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Are they not following the policy? Nope, they aren't following it. And I don't really see why they would need to.

 

Doesn't this cause headaches when a Life scout checks his scoutnet report in preparation for completing the Eagle application? It hasn't ever caused problems for us. We do always turn in advancement reports for rank, but I really don't think our council cares if the merit badges are listed correctly in Scoutnet. As far as I can tell, they take the unit's word on what merit badges have been earned when.

 

In fact, the part about "a Life Scout checks his Scoutnet report" is something that never happens. We don't use internet advancement, our unit doesn't ever look at what is in Scoutnet, and a Life Scout certainly never sees his Scoutnet report. I have no idea what parts of the report the council looks at when they verify an Eagle application, but they have never come back to us with any questions.

 

Our store does not easily sell rank badges, but we can usually talk them into selling us some, either as replacements or just because they know us.

 

Would it be nice if the records were all consistent? Yes. But unless they make it easy to do, and painful if it goes wrong, there's just not much incentive for us to try to make sure all the Scoutnet records are correct. Right now I don't think the council has much incentive, nor does the unit.

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Beavah,

 

While we haven't sent the boys in to get replacements (good idea, though), our troop has a supply of rank badges (from pre-AR requirement). We just keep it stocked by replenishing with each advancement report. We do immediate recognition on rank badges, when possible. It is kind of irritating that BS shop policy is counter to the idea of instant recognition.

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What we found in our council was this - as long as the Scout Shop was operated by the council, you had to submit an Advancement Report in order to purchase badges. Once it became a National Scout Shop, the shop did not require any report. The shop and the council were separate.

At most National Scout Shops, I have found that they will sell most anything to anyone. They want the money and don't care about any reports. Sometimes they do encourage and remind you to submit a report.

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Internet advancement still requires one copy be turned in. Replacements-we check the scout's record. Same thing with trained patches-we check the leaders training.

 

Instant recognition-yes. Congratulations right away. Rank or badge at next troop or pack meeting if possible. Announcement/attaboy at Blue/gold or COH.

 

Yes, the staff gets to know some of the unit leaders. This does not change policy and I do not see a problem with asking adults to follow policy and fulfill their leader responsibilities. We ask our scouts to do this, yes?

One major issue is that often the reports would not get turned in later. Units would want to purchase AOL for scouts not having Webelos recorded, ranks but no Bobcat, etc. The store staff really didn't have time to check everyone's record.

We require the paperwork, it is clearly posted in the store that this is a national policy, and lists of those items needing to be on a form are available. We have held paperwork and mbs until the blue cards are turned in. Internet advancement has really helped- units can see what needs to be recorded and can catch things like no Bobcat when entering a rank-many fewer errors overall.

 

Part of the problem is training being too general. Even the in class committee training did not discuss recharter, advancement procedures, or tour plans.

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Units would want to purchase AOL for scouts not having Webelos recorded, ranks but no Bobcat, etc. The store staff really didn't have time to check everyone's record.

 

So, why is this a problem? How is the Scout negatively affected if the council doesn't have a record of his Bobcat badge?

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Yah, hmmm...

 

So ZScout5, I don't reckon any of us here are going' to convince yeh to change your ways if yeh really are that wedded to paperwork that yeh kept some kids from gettin' their badges because the optional blue card wasn't submitted to yeh at the same instant the harried advancement chair was tryin' to buy the badge.

 

All I can say is that if it was our council, I'd be sittin' down with the SE to let him know that if that approach didn't change, it would be a significant issue on his next employment evaluation.

 

We trust these adults to take children into the woods and fields and streams, eh? I'm not sure why we can't trust 'em to do an OK job passing out cloth patches. Our mission is one of service, and respecting and assisting our volunteer leaders is a vital part of that service. We do nuthin' but damage to kids and to Scouting by doin' anything less.

 

National's only interest in restricting items is to not have 'em out there in quantity being used inappropriately. The intent is not to stop volunteers from gettin' their kids the awards they've earned on a timely basis.

 

B

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Ok I'm shocked to hear about national scout shops not requireming advancement reports b/c when I did work for supply, they were required for ALL rank and other restricted items.

 

Further when it came to getting replacement rank, the shop not only required an advancement report, but also some other type verification,i.e shirt with the patch on, eagle card, etc.

 

 

While the knots didn't require a report to be filled out, we required some type of verification: certificate, card, photos from COH, etc. If we had to we would also call NESA, buit that took some time.

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When I was SM, the last requirement before an Eagle Board was to take the filled out Eagle Application down to the Registrar and get it verified. If there was a conflict between Scoutnet and the form they wouldn't sign it and you couldn't have your board. Usually we had already verified everything before then.

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We have to turn in the Eagle application about three weeks before the scheduled board. I assume that gives them time to check that the Scout actually is registered and has earned the ranks, or whatever it is that they actually check. I suppose that theoretically they would come back to us if there was an issue, but they have never asked us a question and the boards have generally been held on time - the major exception being that sometimes we have to wait a month until the recommendation letters get turned in. I don't know what they check in Scoutnet, but I've got to believe the records haven't been perfect, and nevertheless, we've never heard anything. At the same time, all of the Scouts have actually earned Eagle, earned all the ranks, been registered, etc. I don't know what would happen if we turned in a really bogus Eagle application. I bet it would get rejected.

 

I had to talk the office into selling me some extra Eagle patches one time. To do so, I had to say it was for a second shirt for a Scout who was going to jamboree. The store staff told me that I needed to verify the Scout had actually earned Eagle in the council records. They told me to go down the hall, talk to the council office, get them to verify the Scout really had Eagle, and then come back to them and tell them that the council staff had verified it. I asked them if they were just going to take my word that the council had verified it. They said yes. I said, well, can we just skip the part about me walking down the hall? I know the Scout is recorded as having Eagle. They said ok and sold me the patch.

 

If it was really easy to do internet advancement - for example, as easy as using TroopMaster DotNet - then we'd probably do it. But the last thing I need to worry about is one more version of the troop data. Got too many other priorities.

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For those that wonder why we need advancement reports, I found this on a council website. (I do not make policy, as an employee I am required to follow it)

 

Whenever you purchase certain advancements, it is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the awards be placed on an Advancement Form. We often get questions as to why do we require this. There are a number of valid reasons.

 

1. The Advancement Form requires the signatures of members of the committee, board of review (for Boy Scouts), and the unit leader. This ensures that the Scout has actually earned the award that they are requesting. This also prevents a parent from just coming in to pick up the award without being approved by the unit.

2. The record of this Scout's achievement is recorded into his personal file with his membership ID. This will allow his records to be transferred to Boy Scouts when he graduates or to another pack or troop if he moves.

3. We can make sure the Scout is registered in Scouting. This may seem obvious but, on average, 5% of all active Scouts are not registered in Scouting. Their application may not have made it to the office before they earned their first award, their name my be misspelled in our system, or they may have been accidentally dropped from the roster at recharter time. All these factors can cause a gap in that Scout's tenure. We check every youth advancement to make sure our Scouts are registered properly. Advancement Reports help us accomplish that.

4. Eagle Scouts: When the Scout reached the rank of Eagle, they have to include a record of all their advancements and the dates they were earned. If there are some missing or not accurately recorded, it can delay the Eagle Scout process and hold up that Scout' s recognition. Also, if the Advancement Reports are properly recorded, the Scout can retrieve all his advancements to use as a part of the program for his Eagle Ceremony.

 

Historically, packs and troops have been allowed to "stockpile" advancements in order to present the awards to the Scouts and then send in an Advancement Report later to catch up the records. This practice was wrought with problems as reports were not sent in, the dates on the reports did not coincide with the actual awarding of the badge, or not all the necessary awards that require a report were recorded. A change was made by the Boy Scouts of America.

 

All rank advancements (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, Arrow of Light, Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle, and Eagle Palms, along with the Varsity and Venturing awards), merit badges, and Webelos Activity Pins must be recorded on an Advancement Report under that Scout's names that earned the award. You will not be allowed to purchase these items without a properly completed advancement report. Other recognitions do not have to be included but it is recommended to put everything on the form by Scout. This gives you a backup record of what the Scout has earned.

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This topic sparked an interesting conversation between myself and some fellow scouters. First of all, our local scout shop is a national shop. An advancement report is required for all rank badges and merit badges. They do not require the form for Webelos activity badges, but will accept a form with activity badges listed if it is printed out from a program like ScoutManage. They will even fill out a form for replacement or extra badges, and write 'Replacement' on the form.

 

 

Because the advancement form does not require any documentation (like blue cards) to support the award of merit badges, one of my friends has suggested that the signature of a merit badge counselor is not essential for completing and earning merit badges. Or that a leader can sign off in the stead of a MBC. He suggested this as a solution for when scouts earn most of a MB at camp, for example, and need to finish a requirement at home but a MBC isn't readily available. (Why one isn't available is a whole other issue, and one that we are working on.) No one has done this (A Scout is Honest, Trustworthy, etc.) but what *is* the check to assure that a troop is awarding merit badges appropriately? Does it happen as part of the review for Eagle? Or is he right and it is an honor system through and through?

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In the end it is an honor system, for sure. Now, there are various checks in the system that are supposed to help catch any truly rogue units, but if you have enough collaborators, I'm sure you could pull anything over.

 

In addition to the honor of the Scoutmaster and the Scout, there are any merit badge counselors, any committee members, the head of the CO, the COR - all of these people might have some reason to suspect if a unit is handing out merit badges like jelly beans. Some parent might mention it to the council. To get Eagle, you need someone from the district to approve the application. There is supposed to be a unit commissioner who sometimes talks to the leaders of the unit. The DE is supposed to visit the head of the CO once a year or something.

 

Now, if you are a Lone Scout, doing this in isolation with your parent, there aren't many checks in place. But at the same time, we don't see a wholesale fraud in a huge number of Lone Scouts receiving Eagle without earning it.

 

In the end, though, yes, it is an honor system. We have a few checks in place just to try to weed out those who would pencil-whip everyone through everything, but if you are going to approve adults to work with the Scouts, in the end, you're going to have to trust them to do some of these things.

 

I do like the idea of not having the parents pick up the merit badges. But we've never had one do that. Our biggest issue was when a parent got his son a position of responsibility patch that hadn't been approved by the Scoutmaster. Maybe we should make the position patches restricted, too. (Seriously, we had a huge blow-up in the troop over this issue. You can't prevent everything with bureaucracy.)

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My council has just recently announced that in order to purchase Rank Badges ot Merit Badges, you will be required to turn in an advancement form. This to purchase them from a National Scout Shop. They stated that this was the policy from National.

Not sure how they will handle the need to purchase badges for additional uniforms.

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